To Use Fluoride or Not to Use Fluoride?
To use fluoride or not to use fluoride? That is the question I’m asked daily. Had Hamlet an occasion to ask this question, he would have. I assure you.
Why is fluoride getting such a bad rap? Let’s face it. We are in a digital age where information is always at our fingertips. Look around you in a public area or when dining at a restaurant. Most people are more engaged with the rectangular object in their hands than they are with the human in front of them. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of information. The important thing to realize is that not all information is completely truthful. After researching on the Internet, I found that there are several myths that exist about dentistry, such as: bleeding gums are normal; your teeth are healthy if they do not hurt; your oral health is not related to your total body health; cavities are caused by babies stealing calcium from your body; and, fluoride is harmful. Some of this information has been spread around for so long that it has come to be considered true. For example, people believe that Einstein failed math as a child. Dude, he is Einstein. He not only excelled in math but mastered differential and integral calculus by age 15.
But, now back to fluoride. To be fair, toxic levels of fluoride are bad for you, but so are toxic levels of water (see Water Intoxication or Hyperhydration). More than 70 years of scientific research has shown that an optimal level of fluoride in drinking water is safe and can assist in dental decay prevention in both children and adults. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention named community water fluoridation one of the ten greatest public health achievements of the 20th century, along with seat belt use and improved refrigeration of food.
The current recommended dose of fluoride in drinking water, as defined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is 0.7 milligrams per liter of water. This is comparable to 1 inch in 23 miles and 1 cent in $14,000. Research shows that a person weighing 150 lbs. would have to consume about 14-20 milligrams of fluoride to just get a stomach ache, and fifteen to twenty times that amount to hit a lethal dose. In summary, the levels of fluoride within your water and toothpaste are safe when not consumed in massive quantities. Crawfish tastes a lot better than toothpaste anyway.
Communities fluoridate their water because it helps combat against cavities which are caused by “caries,” a disease five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever in 5-17 year olds. The US. Surgeon General estimated that 51 million school hours are lost per year because of dental-related problems.
Fluoride fights against dental decay, remineralizing or rebuilding the enamel of the teeth. Most fluoride is applied topically to the teeth with toothpaste when brushing, and from food and beverages that become part of the saliva which constantly bathes the teeth with small amounts of fluoride.
Smile! Happy Looks Good on You!